Cablegate: Japanese Morning Press Highlights 09/14/07

DE RUEHKO #4297/01 2570227
P 140227Z SEP 07





E.O. 12958: N/A



1) Top headlines
2) Editorials
3) Prime Minister's daily schedule

Public reacts:
4) Asahi poll: 70 PERCENT of public think Prime Minister Abe's
sudden decision to step down "irresponsible; 50 PERCENT want an
early Diet dissolution
5) Mainichi poll: 59 PERCENT of public want an early dissolution
Diet for a snap election; 43 PERCENT want to DPJ (Democratic Party
of Japan) to win

Anti-Terrorism Law:
6) Public's understanding of need to continue MSDF oil-refueling
services in the Indian Ocean has heightened, with approval rate now
at 49 PERCENT : Mainichi poll
7) Afghanistan's foreign minister in letter to Foreign Minister
Machimura asks for continued support in Indian Ocean
8) Indian Ocean report: MSDF supplying most fuel now to Pakistani
9) JCS Chairman Saito denies MSDF oil being diverted for use in Iraq
10) DPJ's Maehara, citing need for Japan to keep in war on terror,
distances self from party head Ozawa, indicates 40-50 party members
feel the same

11) Japanese prime minister will not attend UNGA session this year

LDP presidential race:
12) Date for LDP presidential election new set for Sept. 23
13) Party support for Yasuo Fukuda wells up, with majority of
members now backing him for LDP presidency
14) Former Prime Minister Koizumi backs Fukuda and will campaign for

Crisis at the top:
15) With Prime Minister Abe hospitalized, Kantei (Prime Minister's
Official Residence) role being criticized
16) Kantei functions seem to have ground to a halt absent the prime
17) Abe's "delicate condition" in part was kept secret, following
traditional practice
18) State budget may have to be compiled next year due to political

19) Ozawa's DPJ trying to show diplomatic credentials, with Ozawa
meeting Chinese VIP, debating issues with Afghan-supporting NGO



Fukuda to announce candidacy for LDP presidency; Aso will officially
declare his candidacy today; Presidential election set for Sept. 23

Fukuda likely to win LDP presidency, has support from majority of
LDP lawmakers; Fukuda expected to announce candidacy

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Support for Fukuda widening in LDP; Fukuda to announce his
candidacy; Presidential election set for Sept. 23

Coordination under way to back Fukuda as successor to Abe;
Presidential election will be announced today with election day set
for Sept. 23; Support for Fukuda widening

LDP presidential election set for Sept. 23; Fukuda widening his
support, Aso maneuvering to win a majority of votes

Tokyo Shimbun:
Fukuda to run in an LDP presidential election set for Sept. 23,
standing at advantage; Aso to announce his candidacy today

Collapse of LDP-New Komeito administration led by Abe: "LDP is


(1) LDP presidential election: Qualifications for new president
(2) Japan's failure to get a director's post in International Judo

(1) LDP first needs to reflect on why it established this unready
(2) National Police Agency needs to enhance investigative ability in
addition to rewards for information about guns

(1) LDP presidential election: Leadership capabilities and
governance essential for new president
(2) There seem to be many more incompetent teachers

(1) Fukuda enters presidential race
(2) Oil prices rise to new high despite OPEC's increase in

(1) Announcement of LDP presidential election: New cabinet needs to
better handle this political crisis
(2) A further review of contents of learning necessary

Tokyo Shimbun:
(1) Pension issue needs to be resolved swiftly in spite of political
(2) Social studies in senior high schools: History should not be put
in a list of optional subjects

(1) It's unacceptable that descriptions about the Imperial Japanese
Army's forced collective suicide are deleted in the school textbook

3) Prime Minister's Official Residence (Kantei)

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Prime Minister's schedule, September 13

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
September 14, 2007

Underwent checkups at Keio University Hospital in Shinano-machi, and
was admitted to the hospital.

4) Poll: 70 PERCENT see Abe's resignation as irresponsible; 50
PERCENT urge early Diet dissolution

ASAHI (Page 1) (Abridged)
September 14, 2007

Following up Prime Minister Abe's announcement of his intention to
resign, the Asahi Shimbun conducted a telephone-based spot
nationwide public opinion survey. The prime minister voiced his
resignation right after his policy speech before the Diet at the
offset of its current extraordinary session. Asked about this, 70
PERCENT said it was "irresponsible." Respondents were also asked
when they thought the House of Representatives should be dissolved
for a general election. To this question, 50 PERCENT said the Diet
should be dissolved "as soon as possible," with 43 PERCENT saying
there is "no need to hurry." In a previous survey taken in late July
right after the election for the House of Councillors, 39 PERCENT
called for dissolving the Diet at an early date, while 54 PERCENT
ruled out the necessity of doing so. In the survey this time,
however, the figures changed places. The prime minister has now
dumped his government with no way out of the current impasse that
resulted from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party's rout in this
summer's House of Councillors election. In response to such a
situation, the survey shows an upsurge of public opinion calling for
a general election.

In the breakdown of public support for political parties, the LDP
stood at 30 PERCENT , with the leading opposition Democratic Party
of Japan (Minshuto) at 28 PERCENT . New Komeito, the LDP's coalition
partner, was at 3 PERCENT . The Japanese Communist Party was at 2
PERCENT , and the Social Democratic Party (Shaminto) at 1 PERCENT .
The DPJ outpaced the LDP in post-election surveys. In the survey
this time, however, the LDP rose from 25 PERCENT in the last survey
and topped the DPJ.

5) Poll: 59 PERCENT call for Diet dissolution; 43 PERCENT want DPJ
to win

MAINICHI (Page 5) (Abridged)
September 14, 2007

The Mainichi Shimbun conducted a telephone-based spot nationwide
public opinion survey on Sept. 12-13. In the survey, respondents
were asked if they thought the House of Representatives should be
dissolved for a general election. In response to this question, 59
PERCENT answered "yes," with 37 PERCENT saying "no." Respondents
were also asked which political party between the ruling Liberal
Democratic Party and the leading opposition Democratic Party of
Japan (Minshuto) they would like to see win in the next election for
the House of Representatives. To this question, 43 PERCENT picked
the DPJ, with 39 PERCENT opting for the LDP. As seen from these
figures, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's announcement of his resignation

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does not necessarily "resolve the situation" in his words.

6) 49 PERCENT back continuing Japan's refueling mission; Defense
chief says public understanding has deepened

MAINICHI (Page 2) (Full)
September 14, 2007

In a spot public opinion survey conducted by the Mainichi Shimbun on
Sept. 12-13, opinions for continuing the Maritime Self-Defense
Force's refueling activities in the Indian Ocean outnumbered those
against it. The government and the ruling coalition of the Liberal
Democratic Party and New Komeito welcomed the survey results. "It's
a good sign," LDP Senior Secretary General Hiroyuki Hosoda said.
Meanwhile, the leading opposition Democratic Party is poised to
oppose continuing the MSDF's refueling mission regardless of changes
in public opinion. However, one of the DPJ's lawmakers voiced
concern, saying, "If we go too far, we may lose public support."

Referring to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's announcement of his
resignation, Defense Minister Masahiko Komura commented: "I don't
know whether it was good or bad, but I think it helped the people
understand that the MSDF's refueling mission is important from the
aspect of Japan's national interests."

Komura yesterday met with Chief Cabinet Secretary Kaoru Yosano and
Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura. In the meeting, the three
confirmed that the government would create a new legislative measure
allowing Japan to continue the MSDF's activities, which are limited
to refueling, without Diet approval. The government will begin in
earnest with the legislative process after the new prime minister
comes into office.

Under such circumstances, pro-refueling opinions outnumbered
anti-refueling opinions. "We will carefully explain this matter,"
Deputy Chief Cabinet Mitsuhide Iwaki said. "If public understanding
deepens," Iwaki added, "I think there will be many more opinions (to
support the MSDF's refueling mission)." There were also voices from
within the Defense Ministry. "It's a happy surprise," one said.
Another said, "If public understanding deepens, that will be a

Shigeru Ishiba, former director general of the Defense Agency, now
upgraded to full ministry status, was also "happy" with the survey
results. Ishiba said, "Whoever may become prime minister, there's no
change in Japan's way of fulfilling its international

Meanwhile, Naoto Kan, vice president of the leading opposition
Democratic Party of Japan (Minshuto), stressed that the trends of
public opinion and his party's course of action were on different
planes, saying: "President Ichiro Ozawa has clearly said it's not
appropriate in principle to engage the Self-Defense Forces in such
activities, rather than to say this and that about public opinion."

Meanwhile, the DPJ has noted that MSDF-supplied fuel might have been
used for activities in Iraq. The government, however, rebutted such
criticism from the DPJ. The government and the ruling parties-which
now think the MSDF's refueling activities are obtaining public
support-will likely change their usual stance of asking for (the
opposition bench's) understanding to a stance of facing off with the
opposition parties in the Diet. The DPJ may be pressed to show its

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policy stance differing from Kan's official view.

7) Afghan foreign minister request in letter to Machimura MSDF's
continued refueling mission

ASAHI (Page 4) (Full)
September 14, 2007

Afghanistan Ambassador to Japan Amine met Foreign Minister Machimura
at the Foreign Ministry yesterday and handed to him a letter from
Foreign Minister Spanta calling on Japan to continue the ongoing
refueling operations by the Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF) in
the Indian Ocean based on the Antiterrorism Special Measures Law.

Amine said: "The continuation (of the MSDF refueling mission) is
desired not only by the Afghan government but also by our people. I
hope this desire is shared by the Japanese people."

8) Report on MSDF refueling mission from Indian Ocean: "We will
faithfully perform our duties," says MSDF captain; Most oil going to
Pakistani ships

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 26) (Abridged)
September 14, 2007

By Tokyo Shimbun senior writer Shigeru Handa, Arabian Sea

Ship-to-ship refueling by the Maritime Self-Defense Force's supply
vessel Tokiwa, deployed to the Indian Ocean this past July from the
MSDF Yokosuka base in Kanagawa Prefecture, was opened to the press
on September 13. Due to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's abrupt
announcement to step down, this might be the vessel's last tour in
the Indian Ocean.

At 2:10 p.m., the Tokiwa began pumping fuel and water to a
British-made Pakistani destroyer about 40 meters away from it.

Throughout the refueling process that took one and a half hours, the
life vest-clad MSDF personnel were on the deck observing the
operation under the scorching sun.

This is Tokiwa's fifth tour. Eighty-two persons, or about 60 PERCENT
of the vessel's 132 crew members, have served in the Indian Ocean
before. Captain Sugawara said: "Although safety, accuracy, and speed
are essential in Japan, speed does not matter over here in the
Indian Ocean. The captain of the destroyer that received fuel from
us today was highly skilled, however."

Since the Tokiwa started its services on August 4, the vessel
conducted ship-to-ship refueling eight times, including seven
Pakistani vessels. Refined fuel has been supplied in compliance with
their request. Of the eight countries taking part in the Indian
Ocean operations as the Coalition of the Willing, Pakistan is the
only Islamic country. As grounds for extending the Antiterrorism
Special Measures Law, the Japanese government has cited its support
for Pakistan.

When did the Tokiwa crew learn of Prime Minister Abe's announcement
to resign? Deck operation chief Akira Masuda, 48, said: "We learned
of (Prime Minister Abe's September 12 resignation press conference)
from an officer, and we were all shocked."

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Captain Yoshitaka Ojima, 47, of the command of the dispatched unit,
took this view: "Although we were surprised by the unexpected news,
we will faithfully perform our duties. We will not discuss this or
that about our future mission for such would not do any good. We
earnestly hope that the government will turn Japan into a country
where children can live happily."

Due to Prime Minister Abe's abrupt decision to abandon his
administration, the fate of the Antiterrorism Law is now on the
line. A person connected with the MSDF indicated that this might the
MSDF's last mission in the Indian Ocean.

9) SDF joint staff chief denies allegations that MSDF fuel has been
diverted for use in Iraq war

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
September 14, 2007

SDF Joint Staff Chief Admiral Takashi Saito at a press conference
yesterday denied allegations that the fuel the Maritime Self-Defense
Force supplied under the Antiterrorism Law to US naval vessels
engaged in the Maritime Interdiction Operations (MIO) in the Indian
Ocean has been diverted for use in the war in Iraq. Admiral Saito
said: "The fuel supplied by our country has been used appropriately
in line with the objectives of the Antiterrorism Special Measures

Admiral Saito added: "The notes exchanged with countries receiving
support from Japan clearly specify: 'Refueling operations shall be
conducted based on the Antiterrorism Law.' The operations have been
confirmed out in the Indian Ocean." The Maritime Self-Defense Force
has reportedly confirmed at the command in Bahrain that the vessels
are taking apart in the MIO.

10) Maehara: 40-50 DPJ lawmakers think Japan must join war on

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
September 14, 2007

Appearing on an Asahi Newstar program recorded yesterday, Seiji
Maehara, a former president of the Democratic Party of Japan, took
the following view about an extension of the Maritime Self-Defense
Force's refueling mission in the Indian Ocean: "Quite a few members
in our party think Japan must join the war on terrorism. As far as I
know, there are 40 to 50 such members." Maehara's comment is likely
to create a stir on the back of President Ichiro Ozawa's clear
denial of a continued Indian Ocean mission.

Maehara said: "President Ozawa's words carry great significance.
When our party endorsed the basic plan (specifying the scale and the
duration for the deployment of the SDF), we were not yet merged with
the Liberal Party (led by Ozawa). Views have not been sorted out
following the merger between the Liberal Party and the DPJ."

About Ozawa's insistence on using a UN Security Council resolution
for determining the dispatch of the SDF, Maehara noted: "Opinions in
the party have not been worked out. We must discuss (why we are
opposed to an extension). Is it because of a lack of information
disclosure, constitutional debate, or the interpretation of a UN

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11) Next prime minister will not attend UNGA

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Full)
September 14, 2007

Since the presidential election of the Liberal Democratic Party
(LDP) will be held on Sept. 23, the next prime minister will not be
able to attend a high-level meeting on climate change, which the
United Nations will hold on Sept. 24 in New York, as well as the UN
General Assembly session starting on the 25th.

This is because the new cabinet will be inaugurated on the 25th at
the earliest, after the Diet vote on the prime minister, unless the
new LDP president is selected without going through an election.

In that case, the Foreign Ministry will likely arrange a plan to
have Ambassador to the UN Yukio Takasu attend the session. The
government had looked into the attendance of Prime Minister Shinzo
Abe since global warming will be a major topic of discussion in the
2008 Group of Eight summit, which Japan will host. However, the
ministry conveyed before Sept. 12 when Abe announced his intention
to step down to the UN Secretariat that it would be difficult for
Abe to attend the sessions.

12) Preliminary skirmish over polling day for LDP presidential race;
Date for election slips to Sept. 23 from initial 19th

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Excerpts)
September 14, 2007

The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) has decided that it will announce
today the party presidential election will be held on Sept. 23, even
though the party leadership initially intended to hold it at an
earlier date. Out of concern about the next House of Representatives
election, many lawmakers called for "an open presidential race." The
forces that had pushed for a shorter period of time for preparations
for the contest to make it advantageous for Secretary General Taro
Aso are opposed to the executive's plan. Due to each group's
interests, a preliminary skirmish was carried out prior to the
official announcement of the presidential election.

"As many lawmakers as possible should run in the election, and
candidates should vigorously debate on their policies." "It is
necessary for candidates to show the public their differences with
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, taking sufficient time." These views were
raised in a meeting yesterday of all LDP lawmakers. The dominant
view in the meeting was that more time should be provided, opposing
the leadership's initial plan to hold the contest on Sept. 19. Some
members suggested holding the election on Sept. 25, but the 23rd was
selected in the end. Citing the Diet now in session as a reason,
there were few LDP members who wanted an early election.

Many LDP lawmakers are still upset with Prime Minister Abe's abrupt
announcement of his intention to resign amid the aftermath of the
party's humiliating defeat in the July House of Councillors
election. The LDP appears to be seeing the presidential race as a
good opportunity to attract public attention.

In the presidential election this time, one vote is given to the 387
LDP lawmakers and three votes to the 47 prefectural chapters.
Therefore, a total of 528 votes will be cast.

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13) Fukuda likely to win LDP presidency with support from a majority
of LDP lawmakers; Fukuda expected to announce his candidacy

MAINICHI (Top play) (Excerpts)
September 14, 2007

Ahead of a presidential election of the ruling Liberal Democratic
Party (LDP) to choose a successor to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who
days before announced his intention to resign, former Chief Cabinet
Secretary Yasuo Fukuda (71) of the Machimura faction yesterday made

up his mind to run and conveyed this intention to several party
officials. Fukuda was critical of the Abe administration for its
Asian policy. Fukuda plans to ask for cross-factional support. The
largest Machimura faction (with a membership of 80) has now been
united to back Fukuda, and a considerable number of lawmakers from
the Koga, Yamasaki, and Tanigaki factions are likely to support
Fukuda. Garnering support from a majority of party lawmakers, Fukuda
immediately has an advantage over other candidates. Meanwhile,
Secretary General Taro Aso (66) of the Aso faction pushed back the

day for him to declare his candidacy from yesterday to today. After
much discussion in the party, the LDP decided to announce a
presidential election today, accept applications for candidacy
tomorrow, and hold an election at a general meeting of the party
lawmakers of both the chambers of the Diet on Sept. 23 to choose a
new president.

Fukuda indicated his strong enthusiasm for the presidency in the
Diet yesterday evening, telling reporters: "Whether to run for
presidency is under consideration." In an interview with the
Mainichi Shimbun, Fukuda commented: "Many (in the party) have told
me to run. I must respond to this call." In the Machimura faction,
to which Fukuda belongs, former Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori met
separately with Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura, former
Secretary General Hidenao Nakagawa, and Fukuda to determine the

faction's stance ahead of the presidential election. As a result,
the faction has decided to back Fukuda. Fukuda is to announce his
candidacy possibly today. Fukuda is a six-term lawmaker. His father
is the late former Prime Minister Takeo Fukuda. In the second Mori
cabinet and the Koizumi cabinet, Fukuda served as chief cabinet


14) Former Prime Minister Koizumi to back Fukuda in LDP presidential
election, saying, "I will spearhead his election campaign."

YOMIURI (Page 1) (Full)
September 14, 2007

Former Prime Minister Koizumi yesterday conveyed to former Liberal
Democratic Party (LDP) Secretary General Hidenao Nakagawa on the
phone his intention to support former Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo
Fukuda, who will run in the LDP presidential race. Regarding
Fukuda's candidacy, Koizumi said, "That's good. I will stand at the
front in his election campaign." Koizumi told former Prime Minister
Mori, "I will 100 percent not run in the race." He thus clarified
his determination not to run in the race.

There has now appeared a possibility of Koizumi's decision having an
impact on the movements of junior lawmakers who have been seeking
his candidacy.

15) Healthcare system in Kantei being called into question, with
prime minister's hospitalization

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YOMIURI (Page 2) (Excerpts)
September 14, 2007

Following Prime Minister Abe's hospitalization yesterday, the
healthcare and crisis-management systems in the Prime Minister's
Official Residence (Kantei) are now being called into question. The
government has decided not to appoint an acting prime minister. A
government official also said that there is no problem with the
crisis-management system. But some government officials voiced
apprehension about the systems, one saying: "It is impossible to
predict what the effect would be on national politics."

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yosano indicated in a press conference
yesterday that there was no problem with the healthcare system to
look after the prime minister's health, saying: "The prime minister
was keeping tabs on his health through his own doctor. He was
properly taking control of his own health."

In April 2000, then Prime Minister Obuchi suffered a stroke in the
Kantei and was immediately taken into hospital, but he later died.
Set off by this experience, the government started healthcare
arrangements in the Kantei. One Self-Defense Force (SDF) medical
officer and one nurse are permanently stationed in the medical
office in the Kantei so that the prime minister's health is checked
on a round-the-clock basis. When the prime minister makes an
overseas trip, a medical officer, a nurse, and his doctor usually
accompany him.

When Abe made trips abroad, his doctor Toshifumi Hibi, from Keio
University Hospital, has gone along with him. Hibi said in a press
conference yesterday: "I accompanied the prime minister on his visit
to Australia (late last week), but he became extremely weak before
leaving the country."

However, because the prime minister announced his resignation while
he was in bad physical shape, calls are expected to grow for
improving the healthcare system in the Kantei.

16) Malfunctioning Kantei; What happened to crisis management?

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Full)
September 14, 2007

With the hospitalization of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe after
suffering from functional gastrointentional disorder yesterday, the
Prime Minister's Official Residence (Kantei) is leaderless now. The
government has put off important meetings in succession. The
political center of Nagatacho and the government office district of
Kasumigaseki are now closely watching the Liberal Democratic Party's
(LDP) presidential race, in which Abe's successor will be elected.
For all practical purposes, the Kantei has now ceased to function.

At the Kantei, meetings of the senior vice ministers and
administrative vice ministers were held yesterday as scheduled.
After Abe's hospitalization, no politicians and bureaucrats visited
the Kantei.

The government decided yesterday to switch to an informal cabinet
meeting from the regular cabinet meeting slated for today. It
forwent a meeting planned for today of its blue-ribbon panel on the
legal foundation for national security, an advisory panel tasked

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with discussing the right of collective self-defense.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Kaoru Yosano stressed in a press conference
yesterday that the effect of the prime minister's hospitalization
would be limited, saying: "We divided meetings into those that
should be held even in the prime minister's absence and other
meetings that can be put off."

17) Prime Minister's health a delicate issue: Cases that were kept
as top secret or not announced at all in the past

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Full)
September 14, 2007

Prime Minister Abe was yesterday admitted to a Tokyo hospital with
functional gastrointestinal disorder. The health condition of an
incumbent prime minister is politically an extremely delicate issue.
In many cases, the fact of hospitalization itself or disease names
were not announced officially.

In a recent case, Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi was hospitalized after
a stroke in the early hours of Apr. 2, 2000. The cabinet resigned en
masse two days later. Obuchi died on May 14.

On that occasion, the announcement of his hospitalization was
suspended for a whole day. Chief Cabinet Secretary Mikio Aoki at the
time took office as acting deputy prime minister on the morning of
Apr. 3. There was no prime minister in office during this timeframe,
raising a question on the crisis management system of the Prime
Minister's Official Residence (Kantei).

Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama during a working dinner at the
Naples Summit in July 1994 became ill and was hospitalized
temporarily. In May 1980, Prime Minister Masayoshi Ohira, who was
forced to dissolve the Lower House for a general election with the
adoption of a no-confidence motion against his cabinet, was
hospitalized. He was diagnosed as suffering from irregular heart
beat and died of acute cardiac failure while in office. The Liberal
Democratic Part (LDP) won a landslide victory in the concurrent
Lower and Upper House elections held right after Ohira's death.
Prime Minister Hayato Ikeda was hospitalized in September 1964. The
name of his disease was precancerous syndrome. He announced his plan
to resign the day after the closing ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics
in Oct. 1964.

18) Budget compilation likely to be carried over to coming year:
Concern about negative impact on people's lives

SANKEI (Page 2) (Excerpts)
September 14, 2007

There is concern about a delay in the compilation of the fiscal 2008
budget due to the turmoil caused by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's
announcement of his plan to step down. If the turmoil in the
political situation continues because of a dissolution of the Lower
House, the budget compilation process would come to a halt, causing
a delay in the adoption of the budget bill expected to take place at
year's end until the coming year. Should that happen, it would be
the first time since a similar case happened during the Morihiro
Hosokawa cabinet 14 years ago. A delay in the compilation of the
budget will have a major impact on people's lives. The Ministry of
Finance (MOF) is concerned about the development of the political

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MOF closed the acceptance of estimated budget requests at the end of
August and has started screening those requests for the compilation
at year's end. However, there is a mountain of obstacles to the
compilation of the budget within the year.

The ruling parties suffered a crushing defeat in the July Upper
House election. The Upper House is dominated by the opposition, led
by the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ). Prime Minister Abe has
announced his plan to quit only a month after reshuffling his
cabinet. The LDP will hold a presidential election on Sept. 23. A
new prime minister is expected to be chosen before the end of this
month. However, it is uncertain whether the new prime minister will
be able to find a breakthrough in the present political situation,
in which the opposition camp controls the Upper House while the
ruling bloc holds a majority in the House of Representatives.

19) DPJ's Ozawa making strategic moves on diplomatic front in effort
to grab political power

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
September 14, 2007

Looking askance at the confusion in the ruling camp caused by Prime
Minister Shinzo Abe's announcement of his resignation, Democratic
Party of Japan (DPJ) President Ichiro Ozawa is steadily making
strategic moves on the diplomatic and security fronts. He met with
Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference Chairman Jia
Qinglin yesterday and stressed that he would make utmost efforts to
seize political power, saying: "Japan and China are both at a major
turning point." The DPJ has also resumed talks on the issue of
extending the Antiterrorism Special Measures Law in preparation for
the start of debate with the new administration.

The Ozawa-Jia meeting lasted for about one hour. Ozawa told Jia:
"Even after a new prime minister assumes office, the current state
of the reversal of strengths between the ruling and opposition
parties will remain unchanged. This state will continue at least for
three years. Unless we accurately recognize this situation, it will
be impossible to implement political administration as desired." He
then categorically said: "The Liberal Democratic Party has no
capability to completely alter the contradictions in the current
political mechanism controlled by the bureaucracy." The meeting was
arranged in response to a request from Chinese Ambassador to Japan
Wang Yi. Coordination is also underway for Ozawa to meet President
Hu Jintao during his planned visit to China in December.

In a meeting of the DPJ foreign and defense committee held yesterday
morning, the participants confirmed the party's policy of opposing
the government's plan to continue the Maritime Self-Defense Force's
(MSDF) refueling mission in the Indian Ocean. The party had asked
the Foreign Ministry and the Defense Ministry to submit data
covering 42 items related to MSDF activities. In the meeting, it was
reported that the government has refused to reply to almost all
requests in effect, on the grounds that coordination with the United
States is necessary.

The items include: (1) The destinations of and the state of
participation in the war by the US naval vessels that were refueled
by MSDF; (2) detailed areas in which MSDF refueled various
countries' ships; and (3) the possibility of offering other

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materials on the occasion of refueling. If the DPJ is unable to
receive satisfactory replies, the party plans to invoke its
investigative power in national politics.

In the evening, the meeting invited representatives from a
non-government organization (NGO) offering medical services in
Afghanistan. The participants and the representatives exchanged
views on new contribution measures, centering on humanitarian aid,
to replace the MSDF mission under the Antiterrorism Special Measures

Views in the DPJ have gradually been unified into that of opposing
the MSDF refueling, in line with Ozawa's assertion that SDF troops
should be dispatched overseas only under a UN resolution. Regarding
security policy, intertwined with a revision of the Constitution,
views in the party were split. Given this, antagonism may appear in
the party in the future.


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UN: Bachelet Calls On Mexico To Step Up Efforts As Tragic Milestone Reached Of More Than 100,000 Disappearances

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on Tuesday called on the Mexican authorities to step up efforts to ensure truth and justice for victims of disappearances, who now number more than 100,000, according to official data... More>>

ADC: Statement On The Assassination Of Shireen Abu Akleh

Early this morning in Jenin, Occupied Palestine, revered Palestinian voice Shireen Abu Akleh, a Palestinian American journalist for Al Jazeera, was assassinated by Israeli Occupation Forces snipers...

Ukraine: UN Rights Office Probe Spotlights Harrowing Plight Of Civilians

Almost 76 days since Russia invaded Ukraine, countless civilians remain caught up in the horror and destruction of war, UN rights investigators said on Tuesday... More>>

Access Now: Elon Musk’s Twitter Buyout Must Not Come At The Expense Of Human Rights

Following today’s announcement that Elon Musk will acquire complete ownership of Twitter in a cash sale of around 44 billion USD, pending shareholder approval, Access Now urges Twitter’s Board, employees, and shareholders... More>>

UN: Biodiversity And Ecosystem Protection Highlighted On Mother Earth Day

Marking International Mother Earth Day, UN General Assembly President Abdulla Shahid urged on Friday, for collective action to safeguard biodiversity and protect ecosystems... More>>

Ukraine: Hundreds More Reach Safety After Fleeing Besieged Mariupol
In Ukraine, humanitarians said on Wednesday that hundreds of people have managed to reach safety after fleeing Mariupol, where there’s also been condemnation for the killing of Lithuanian filmmaker Mantas Kvedaravicius... More>>